“It was all a real eye-opener,” he said, of his time spent in the middle east during Desert Storm and in Somalia. “I served over there with the first infantry division, in the aviation branch.”
It was war, he said, and he saw a lot of destruction.
“We lost 14,” Stanford said. “We lost nine in one day in a helicopter that was shot down. Some of those were from my company. One person was a friend of mine I had known for five years. He had been in Vietnam and hit his 20 years and decided to stay in two more years to get promoted. He didn’t come back.”
In Somalia, he was directly involved with helicopter support for rangers and special forces.
“It was pretty much the same as any war,” Stanford said. “It was very intense and always the bad part, the death part, is what everyone has to deal with. It’s very difficult, very different.”
As part of a military style of leadership, Stanford said, he will be involved with every area of the department.
“You have to know a little bit about everybody’s area, to be involved in all of it,” he said. “At the same time, you have to have those experienced in that area that have had training to let them do it.”
As sheriff, he said, he will implement character education for officers and inmates.
“It’s basically working on positive character qualities to bring those out,” he said. “You see a lot of negative characteristics, and that is why a lot of people are in jail.”